Dar es Salaam — Rising demand for meat, compounded by low cattle supplies, has pushed meat prices up in Dar es Salaam, with analysts projecting that a kilogramme of beef will cross the Sh10,000-mark during the festive season.
Basically, the commercial city has two types of meat retailers. There are those traders who buy live cattle; slaughter them and retail the same in their butcheries.
Shops operated by these traders are retailing a kilogram of beef at Sh6,500. The other category comprises of a majority of butchery operators in the commercial city dealing mainly with those who buy slaughtered meat at wholesale prices at the Vingunguti Abattoir.
With wholesale prices rising by an average of 21 per cent during the past one month, retailers in the second category have also pushed theirs (retail prices) up.
"Currently, a kilogram of beef at the Vingunguti Abattoir fetches between Sh6,300 and Sh6,500 as wholesale price. Two months ago, the same fetched between Sh5,000 and Sh5,500. What you see in retail outlets is a reflection of what is happening here," the chairman for a co-operative union for traders in livestock and livestock products at Vingunguti, Mr Joel Meshaki, told The Citizen in an interview.
In a number of retail outlets, a kilogram of beef currently fetches between Sh7,500 and Sh8,500.
According to Mr Meshaki, the rise is largely due to a slowdown in cattle supply at the market. Currently, an average of 400 and 450 cattle are slaughtered at Vingunguti per day, a drop from an average of 500 and 650 during times of normal supply.
The market master at the Pugu Livestock Market, Mr Kerambo Samwel told The Citizen that the rise has been associated with a drop in cattle supply at the market from source regions of Geita, Mwanza, Rukwa, Morogoro, Mara, Arusha, Simiyu and Tabora. Cattle supplies started to dwindle in September and October, but it they slowly but began to rise towards the end of November.
"In September, we received 33, 390 cattle here at Pugu Market. We sold 32 804 of them. In October, the number dropped to 28, 961. We filled the gap for demand by selling the 586 cattle that were brought here in September and those that had been kept here for some time. That way, we were able to sell 30,738 cattle in October," he said.

In November, a total of 29, 353 cattle were supplied to Pugu Market while the total number of cattle sold stood at 33,190.
A decrease in supply, said Mr Samwel, was largely due to availability of pasture as rains started falling in some source regions. Some livestock keepers were also hoarding their livestock in anticipation that they will get better prices during the festive season.
A cattle trader at Pugu Market Mr Mengi Nollo said most of the livestock from Mwanza region are currently sold in Kenya through Sirari boarder.
"There is a huge livestock market at Sirari. We currently receive cattle from Shinyanga, Simiyu and Tabora," he said.
According to Mr Meshaki some cattle from upcountry regions ends up in Dodoma where meat demand has increased since the government relocated its operations from Dar es Salaam to the capital city.
Mr Maelo Machage, a cattle trader at Pugu Market said he used to pay Sh500,000 for a 120-kilogram cow but the same now costs him Sh800,000.
A cow weighing 260 kilograms currently fetches up to Sh1.6 million from Sh1.2 million a few months ago.

Source: Allafrica.com